Ayoze Perez was in scintillating form on Saturday afternoon as he bagged two goals and an assist to help Newcastle United complete a stunning turnaround at St James’ Park.
The diminutive Spaniard has a knack of moving into top gear at the business end of the season. He scored six goals and provided one assist in the final eight fixtures of the 2018/18 campaign, providing the Magpies with the clinical edge to move clear of the relegation zone.
And Perez looks to be staying true to form this season after his heroics against Everton. The overall quality of his incisive attacking football injected the level of potency Newcastle needed to overturn a two-goal deficit, and his impact was rightly lauded in the British media thereafter.
BBC pundit and Newcastle legend, Alan Shearer, was one of the many eulogisers who paid tribute to the number ten by naming him in his team of the week column.
In response to his recognition, Perez thanked Shearer on Twitter and received a positive response from the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer.
You deserved it. Well done. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙋🏼♂️🙋🏼♂️ https://t.co/83p8dRciHE
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 11, 2019
Amidst the euphoria of a priceless victory it is easy to pile praise upon the players who were fundamental to the result. Unfortunately for Newcastle, though, there are typically more negatives than positives to dwell on.
That in turn has made Perez something of a divisive figure on Tyneside, but he has been criminally underrated by those fans who regularly slate him when things aren’t going Newcastle’s way.
That Benitez has continuously stood by the 25-year-old during the past two seasons speaks volumes about how highly he is regarded by the Newcastle boss, and it’s about time some of his critics looked at the bigger picture.
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There is a huge creative burden on his shoulders within a side lacking ingenuity, and in the absence of talent around him he has often struggled to fulfil his potential.
With a few key additions to the Newcastle squad, Perez could prove he has often been underappreciated by his strongest critics.